1839 – Louis Daguerre photographs a human being for the first time.
-- Robert Cornelius photographs himself in Philadelphia, the first portrait photograph.
1848 – Revolutions break out across Europe in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc.
--Karl Marx publishes The Communist Manifesto.
1850 – Gustave Courbet exhibits The Burial at Ornans and The Stonebreakers at the Salon Exhibition.
1851 – The Crystal Palace Exhibition in London
1855 – Henry Bessemer patents a process for the mass production of steel.
1857 – Elisha Otis installs the first elevator at 188 Broadway in New York.
1859 – Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of the Species.
1861 – 1865 – The American Civil War.
1863 – The Salon des Refuses, a special exhibition for all the artists rejected from the official Salon. Edouard Manet causes a sensation with his Dejeuner sur l”Herbe.
1865 – Slavery ends in the USA with the Northern victory in the Civil War and the passage of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution.
1867 – The British North America Act establishes Canada.
1870 – The Franco-Prussian War concludes with French defeat. The Victorious Prussians proclaim the creation of the German Empire, and declare the King of Prussia to be the first German Emperor. Germany is united under Prussian domination.
1871 -- The Paris Commune Uprising. Revolutionaries seize the government of the city of Paris. The French army smashes the uprising in a series of massacres.
-- The Chicago Fire destroys most of the city center.
1874 – The First Impressionist Exhibition in the Studio of the Photographer Felix Nadar.
1876 – Centennial of the American Revolution. Thomas Eakins tries and fails to submit his painting The Gross Clinic to the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.
-- The first segregation laws disenfranchising African Americans were passed in the Southern United States.
-- Alexander Graham Bell patents his invention of the telephone
1877 – Thomas Edison invents the phonograph, history’s first recorded sounds.
Thomas Edison listening to his phonograph
1879 – Thomas Edison produces the first commercially successful electric light bulb.
1883 – The Brooklyn Bridge is completed.
1885 -- The first steel frame building is completed in Chicago
1886 – Karl Benz in Germany begins producing the first automobiles with internal combustion engines.
--The Statue of Liberty dedicated in New York.
--The South African Gold Rush begins the colonial competition for African territory by European nations.
1889 – The Eiffel Tower is completed for the 1889 centennial of the French Revolution.
1895 – Louis Lumiere invents motion pictures
1897 – Guglielmo Marconi invents radio broadcasting.
1898 – The Spanish American War. The American military drives Spain out of its last colonial possessions in the Caribbean and the Pacific. Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and The Philippines become American possessions.
1899 – Sigmund Freud publishes The Interpretation of Dreams.
1903 – The Wright Brothers make the first successful airplane flight at Kittyhawk, NC.
1905 – Albert Einstein publishes his first paper on the Theory of Relativity
--Henri Matisse debuts at the Salon d’Automne
1906 – The artists in the German Expressionist group Die Brücke publish their manifesto.
1907 – Pablo Picasso paints Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
1909 – Louis Bleriot flies an airplane across the English Channel, the first international airplane flight.
1910 – Kandinsky paints the “first” abstract painting.
1911 – The first exhibit by the Blue Rider group of artists in Munich
1912 – The last Emperor of China abdicates. The Republic of China is established.
--The Titanic strikes an iceberg and sinks on its maiden voyage killing 1,517 people in one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history.
1913 – The Armory Show in New York, the first major public exhibition of modern art in the United States.
--The Mexican Revolution
1914 – The First World War begins with the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist.
1916 – The Dada Movement begins with the opening of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland.
1917 – The Russian Revolution. The Russian military mutinies and forces the Tsar to abdicate. The Bolsheviks (The Communist Party) under Vladimir Lenin takes over in a coup in November.
1918 – The First World War ends with the armistice and German surrender. The German Emperor Abdicates, and Germany becomes a republic.
1919 – The Spartacus Uprising in Germany. German workers, soldiers, and sailors after enduring wartime suffering and shortages revolt and take over several German cities. The German military brutally puts down the rebellion.
-- The Versailles Treaty formally ends the First World War and breaks up the territories of the Austrian Empire and the Ottoman Empire into the countries of Eastern Europe and of the Middle East.
-- Creation of the League of Nations, headquartered in Geneva
-- Women win the right to vote in the USA.
-- The Bauhaus begins in Weimar, Germany
1922 -- Creation of the Soviet Union out of Communist Russia, Ukraine, and Belorus.
-- Benito Mussolini and the Fascist Party rule Italy after a coup.
-- The world’s first commercial radio broadcast in New York.
--James Joyce publishes Ulysses.
1924 -- Lenin dies and Stalin becomes head of the Soviet Union
1926 – Robert Goddard launches the first liquid fuel propelled rocket.
1927 – Charles Lindbergh makes the first airplane flight across the Atlantic Ocean.
-- Television is invented.
1928 – The first regular television broadcasts, beginning in the USA.
1929 – The international stock market crash and the beginning of the worldwide Great Depression.
1930 -- The Salt March in India. Mohandas Gandhi leads the first successful large scale act of non-violent civil disobedience challenging the British colonial salt monopoly.
1933 – Adolph Hitler becomes ruler of Germany after the Nazis win the 1932 German parliamentary elections.
1936 – The Spanish Civil War begins. Hitler and Mussolini support Francisco Franco and the Falangists with weapons and the German Air Force.
-- Picasso exhibits Guernica
1936 - 1938 -- The Great Purge in the Soviet Union claims the lives of about 1.2 million political prisoners
1937 – Japan invades Manchuria starting a war with China.
-- The Degenerate Art Show staged by the Nazis to discredit modern art
1938 – Oil is discovered in Saudi Arabia
1939 – The Second World War begins with the German invasion of Poland.
-- The Spanish Civil War ends with the victory of Francisco Franco and the Falangists.
1941 – Japan attacks the US Navy base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The USA enters World War II.
-- Germany invades the Soviet Union.
--Flight of the first jet engined plane; the jet engine invented separately by Frank Whittle in Britain and by Hans Von Ohain in Germany
1941 – 1945 -- The Holocaust; The Nazis murder an estimated 6 million Jews (two thirds of the Jewish population of Europe) along with millions of Romani (Gypsies), Poles, Jehovah's Witnesses, political prisoners, Russian POWs, and homosexuals, a total of approximately 17 million people.
1942 – Enrico Fermi creates the first controlled atomic chain reaction in Chicago.
1943 – The Battle of Stalingrad, the largest battle in history, turns the tide of the war against Germany.
1944 – The D-Day Invasion by the American, Canadian, and British militaries of the German occupied French coast, the largest invasion force in history.
1945 – Germany surrenders, Hitler dies by suicide.
-- The first atomic bomb is detonated at White Sands, New Mexico.
-- The USA drops an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan, and then another one on the city of Nagasaki.
-- Japan surrenders.
-- The United Nations first meets to sign its charter in San Francisco
1946 – Alan Turing presents a design for the first stored-program computer, and writes the first software. He is the father of computer technology.
1947 – Jackson Pollock makes his first drip paintings.
1948 – Israel becomes an independent nation.
-- George Orwell publishes 1984.
-- The United Nations adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
1949 – India becomes independent from British rule.
-- The Partition of India and Pakistan
-- The People’s Republic of China founded by Mao Zedong.
1953 -- Apartheid is instituted in South Africa
1954 – Gordon Teal creates the first silicon transistor
1956 -- The Hungarian Uprising against Soviet hegemony
--The Suez Crisis: Egypt under the leadership of Gamal Abdul Nasser seizes control of the Suez Canal from Britain and France provoking attacks upon Egypt by France and Israel.
--Fidel Castro assumes power in Cuba after overthrowing the Bautista dictatorship.
1957 – The Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the world’s first artificial orbiting satellite.
-- Ghana becomes the first Sub-Saharan African nation to become independent from colonial rule.
1958 -- China begins The Great Leap Forward, an attempt to rapidly industrialize. It will end in disaster causing the worst famine in recorded history.
--Jack Kilby invents the first microchip
1961 – Soviet pilot Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human being launched into space and to orbit the Earth.
1962 – Andy Warhol exhibits his first paintings of Marylin Monroe.
-- The first international television broadcast by satellite. Telstar is the first broadcast satellite.
1963 – The March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech.
– Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
1964 -- The Civil Rights Act ends legal racial segregation in the United States.
1965 – The Gulf of Tonkin incident and US entry into the Vietnam War
1966 -- The Cultural Revolution begins in China
1967 – The Six Day War between Israel and a coalition of Arab states. The West Bank, Sinai, and the Golan Heights come under Israeli occupation.
--The Nigerian Civil War begins with the attempted secession of the Biafran Republic.
1968 – Assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy
1969 – The astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission become the first human beings to walk on the Moon.
--The US Defense Department creates ARPANET, the world's first internet computer system
1973 – The Yom Kippur War between Israel, Egypt, and Syria
-- The Watergate Crisis: burglars break into Democratic campaign headquarters in the Watergate apartments in Washington DC. They were working for the re-election campaign of President Nixon; President Nixon tries to cover up the whole affair by refusing to cooperate with investigators and committing perjury.
--Augusto Pinochet becomes ruler of Chile in a violent coup, overthrowing the democratically elected President Salvador Allende.
--American involvement in Vietnam ends.
1974 -- Richard Nixon resigns the Presidency of the USA, the first and only president to resign.
1975 – The Vietnam War ends.
--The Khmer Rouge seize power in Cambodia.
1976 -- Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak create the first personal computer
1979 -- The Iranian Revolution: The Pahlahvi dynasty, the last kings of Iran/Persia are overthrown by a popular revolution. Iran becomes the first "Islamic Republic" under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini.
1989 – The Cold War ends in a series of revolutions across Europe. The Soviet Union withdraws its forces from Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia, leaving their communist governments vulnerable. Romania's communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu falls in a violent revolution ending with his death before a firing squad.
--The Tiananmen Square Protests in Beijing, China end in a massacre by government troops.
1990 – Germany reunited
-- The Gulf War: The United States drives invading Iraqi forces out of Kuwait.
1991 – The Soviet Union is dissolved after a failed coup against Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
--Apartheid ends in South Africa after a long struggle. Nelson Mandela is elected the first president of post-apartheid South Africa
1991 - 1995 -- The Yugoslav War: The former Union of Yugoslavia breaks up into Slovenia, Coatia, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Macedonia. War breaks out between Serbia and Croatia over frontiers. A bloody civil war breaks out between the Muslim and Serbian populations of Bosnia-Herzogovinia.
1995 -- The first social networking sites appear.
2000 – The human genome is mapped out.
2001 – The September 11th attacks and the US invasion of Afghanistan
2003 – The Iraq War, The USA invades Iraq and overthrows the regime of Saddam Hussein.
2008 -- Barack Obama becomes the first African American elected President of the United States.
President Barack Obama
2010 -- The "Arab Spring" begins with the overthrow of the rulers of Tunisia and quickly spreads to Egypt and Libya where entrenched autocratic regimes are thrown out by popular uprisings.
2011 -- The USA withdraws its forces from Iraq.